Thomas of Celano

Last updated
Servant of God
Thomas of Celano
Bornc. 1185
Celano, L'Aquila, Italy
Died4 October 1260 (aged 75)[ citation needed ]
Val de'Varri, Rieti, Italy
Resting placeSan Francesco di Tagliacozzo
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church

Thomas of Celano (Italian : Tommaso da Celano; c. 1185 – c. 1265 [1] [2] ) was an Italian friar of the Franciscans (Order of Friars Minor) as well as a poet and the author of three hagiographies about Saint Francis of Assisi.



Thomas was born sometime between 1185–1190, into the noble family of the Conti dei Marsi at Celano in the Province of the Abruzzi. He received a sound liberal arts education, possibly at the Benedictine monastery of Saint John the Baptist near Celano. His familiarity with monastic tradition suggests that he may have studied at Monte Cassino, Rome or Bologna. [3]

He joined the Franciscan order probably in 1215. In 1221, he was present at the Pentecost Chapter at the Portiuncula. and then accompanied Caesar of Speyer on his mission to Germany. The following year he became custos of the convents at Mayence, Worms, Speyer, and Cologne, and soon after, Caesar of Speyer, on his return to Italy, made him his vicar in the government of the German province. Before September 1223, Thomas returned to Italy, and lived there in close contact with Francis. [4]


Incorrupt remains in the tomb Tagliacozzo Reliquie Beato Tommaso da Celano.jpg
Incorrupt remains in the tomb

Thomas's authorship of the three works on Francis of Assisi is well-established. Many researchers of the early history of the Franciscan order believe that Brother Leo, and Rufinus of Assisi, associates of Francis, were the source of the material for the Vita Secunda. [5]

Thomas also wrote Fregit victor virtualis and Sanctitatis nova signa in honor of Francis. Life of St. Clare of Assisi, on the early life of Saint Clare of Assisi and the hymn "Dies Irae" are also traditionally attributed to him, but the authorship of both works is in fact uncertain.

Death and burial

In 1260 he settled down to his last post, as spiritual director to a convent of Clarisses in Tagliacozzo, where he died some time between 1260 and 1270.

He was at first buried in the church of S. Giovanni Val dei Varri, attached to his monastery, but his body is now reburied in the church of S. Francesco at Tagliacozzo.

Beatification process

The process for beatification was initiated in Avezzano; the Congregation for the Causes of Saints declared the process valid and allowed for the opening of the so-called "Roman Phase" on 27 November 1991. The initiation of the process prior to this date granted him the title Servant of God.


Related Research Articles

Francis of Assisi Catholic saint and founder of the Franciscan Order

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Franciscans Group of religious orders within the Catholic Church

The Franciscans are a group of related mendicant religious orders within the Catholic Church, founded in 1209 by Saint Francis of Assisi. These orders include the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Saint Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. They adhere to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others.

Assisi Comune in Umbria, Italy

Assisi is a town and comune of Italy in the Province of Perugia in the Umbria region, on the western flank of Monte Subasio.

Canticle of the Sun singing

The Canticle of the Sun, also known as Laudes Creaturarum and Canticle of the Creatures, is a religious song composed by Saint Francis of Assisi. It was written in an Umbrian dialect of Italian but has since been translated into many languages. It is believed to be among the first works of literature, if not the first, written in the Italian language.

Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi Church in Assisi, Italy

The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Assisi, a town in the Umbria region in central Italy, where Saint Francis was born and died. It is a Papal minor basilica and one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. With its accompanying friary, Sacro Convento, the basilica is a distinctive landmark to those approaching Assisi. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000.

San Francesco a Ripa church in Rome

San Francesco a Ripa is a church in Rome, Italy. It is dedicated to Francis of Assisi who once stayed at the adjacent convent. The term Ripa refers to the nearby riverbank of the Tiber.

Francis of Assisi founded three orders and gave each of them a special rule. Here, only the rule of the first order is to discussed, i.e., that of the Order of Friars Minor.

Julian of Speyer, also known as Julian of Spires, was a German Franciscan composer, poet and historian of the thirteenth century.

Christian literature literary genre

Christian literature is writing that deals with Christian themes and incorporates the Christian world view. This constitutes a huge body of extremely varied writing.

Assisi Cathedral cathedral San Rufino, Assisi

Assisi Cathedral, dedicated to San Rufino is a major church in Assisi, Italy. This stately church in Umbrian Romanesque style was the third church built on the same site to contain the remains of bishop Rufinus of Assisi, martyred in the 3rd century. The construction was started in 1140 to the designs by Giovanni da Gubbio, as attested by the wall inscription visible inside the apse. He may be the same Giovanni who designed the rose-window on the façade of Santa Maria Maggiore in 1163.

<i>Little Flowers of St. Francis</i> literary work

The Little Flowers of St. Francis is a florilegium, divided into 53 short chapters, on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi that was composed at the end of the 14th century. The anonymous Italian text, almost certainly by a Tuscan author, is a version of the Latin Actus beati Francisci et sociorum eius, of which the earliest extant manuscript is one of 1390 AD. Luke Wadding ascribes the text to Father Ugolino da Santa Maria, whose name occurs three times in the Actus. Most scholars are now agreed that the author was Ugolino Brunforte.

Henry of Avranches was a poet of the first half of the 13th century, writing in Latin. He is sometimes assumed to have been born in Avranches, but is otherwise said to be of German birth with a Norman father. He is described as an itinerant cleric.

Secular Franciscan Order organization

The Secular Franciscan Order is a world-wide community of Catholic men and women who seek to pattern their lives after Jesus in the spirit of Francis of Assisi. Secular Franciscans are tertiaries, or members of the Third Order of Saint Francis founded by Francis of Assisi 800 years ago.

Francesco da Fabriano - born Francesco Venimbeni - was an Italian Roman Catholic professed member from the Order of Friars Minor. He was a noted writer on various theological and biblical matters and was known for his great breadth of theological knowledge that characterized his religious life.

Clare of Assisi Italian saint

Saint Clare of Assisi is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies, a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition, and wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. Following her death, the order she founded was renamed in her honour as the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to today as the Poor Clares. Her feast day is on 11 August.

Caesar of Speyer was an early Franciscan who was a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi, and the first Provincial Minister of the Franciscans in Germany. After the death of Francis, he was a leader of the zelanti faction, opposed to what they considered a relaxation of the Rule as promulgated by the founder.

San Francesco, Viterbo church building in Viterbo, Italy

The Basilica of St. Francis is a parish church and minor basilica in Viterbo, central Italy. The museological management of the church is run by the Polo Museale del Lazio.

Crescentius of Jesi, O.F.M. of the Grizi family, was an Italian Friar Minor, who became Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor in 1244. He was an opponent of the Franciscan Spirituals, who insisted on an exact following of poverty according to the example of the founder of the Order, St. Francis of Assisi. He was deposed as Minister in 1247 in favour of John of Parma of their party.

Order of Friars Minor male order in the Catholic Church

The Order of Friars Minor is a mendicant Catholic religious order, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi. The order adheres to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others. The Order of Friars Minor is the largest of the contemporary First Orders within the Franciscan movement.

The Master of the Franciscan Crucifixes is the notname given to an Italian painter active in the 1260s and 1270s. The notname is based on a painted crucifix now in the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi, which was found to be connected stylistically with two painted crucifixes in Bologna and fragments of two paintings in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The artist is presumed to have been Umbrian by origin and training.


  1. The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano gives the date as 1260.
  2. Wdzieczny, Gilbert "The Life and Works of Thomas of Celano" in Franciscan Studies New Series, Vol. 5, No. 1 (March 1945), pp. 55–68 says, He died between 1260 and 1270.
  3. 1 2 "Introduction", Franciscan Intellectual Tradition
  4. 1 2 3 Heckmann, Ferdinand. "Thomas of Celano." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 7 January 2020PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  5. Wdzieczny, Gilbert. "The Life and Works of Thomas of Celano", Franciscan Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, 1945, pp. 55–68. JSTOR

PD-icon.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Thomas of Celano". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.